HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College, made the decision to waive tuition for both its classroom and online courses for Katrina victims starting with the current semester.
"We hope that both traditional students and displaced workers in need of new job skills will be able to take advantage of our offer," said Dr. Edna Baehre, president of HACC. "Even if they don't choose to remain in the area, the easy transferability of our credits should help Katrina victims continue their education."
The courses - including the very popular Internet-based online classes - will be offered on a space available basis for the current academic year.
"We know that this is a long-term recovery effort, so we'll look at the need during the next two terms and continue to help as needed," Baehre said.
Students can attend any of HACC's four campuses or the new York Center under the plan as well as the very popular Virtual Campus in which the college continues to expand its offerings. The college is working to increase the number of internet-based courses to respond to both the local demand and to make space available for potential students from Gulf states.
"We think that some of our virtual courses may be particularly attractive to students at both four year and community colleges which have sustained significant damage from Katrina," she said. "We want to help those students keep pace with their original academic plan and graduate on time if at all possible."
Baehre said that the college is also working with the American Association of Community Colleges and the Sloan Consortium which have formed of online consortia for classes from community and four year colleges and universities throughout the country.
"If we can all help with education and job training, the Gulf Region will recover more quickly and be even more vibrant than before," Baehre said.